As much of the economy begins to rebound, young people - especially young women - experience a different reality.
" We are not talking about the impact of the caregiving crisis on children's learning loss and its disproportionate impact on girls and girls of color.
- Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of the non-profit organization Girls Who Code
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One year after the start of the pandemic, there are signs that the US economy is coming back to life, with a falling unemployment rate and a growing number of people returning to work . Even mothers - who have quit their jobs en masse over the past year largely due to the increase in caregiving duties - are slowly reintegrating into the workforce.
But young Americans - especially women aged 16 to 24 - are living quite a reality different, with higher unemployment rates than older adults, and several thousand, if not millions, postponing their studies, which can delay their entry into the labor market.
New research suggests that the number of young" diceconnected ”- defined as those who are neither in school nor in the workforce - is growing. For young women, the crisis in caregiving can be one of the main reasons they have suspended their studies or their careers.
Last year, young adult unemployment soared to 27.4% in April from 7.8% in February - nearly double the 14% overall unemployment rate that month and the highest for this age group in the past two decades, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At its peak in April, the unemployment rate for young women overall reached 30% - with a rate of 22% for white women from this age group, 30% for black women and 31% for Latin women.
These numbers are starting to improve, as many sectors dominated by women cut jobs at the start of the pandemic, such as leisure, retail and education, add them.
The unemployment rate for young women has now fallen to 9 percent - lower than the rate for young men, which is 12 percent, but still higher than the overall unemployment rate in the United States of 6 percent. But that doesn't mean young women necessarily do much better now than they weren't early in the pandemic.
Because many young women have stopped looking for work, they are not counted in the unemployment figures. About 18% of the 1.9 million of women who have has completely left the workforce since last February - or about 360,000 - were between 16 and 24 years old, according to an analysis of unadjusted figures by the National Women 's Law Center.
At the same time, the number of women who have dropped out of some form of education or are planning to do so is increasing. During the pandemic, more women than men consistently reported that they had canceled their plans to take post-secondary courses or that they planned to take fewer courses, according to a series of surveys by the US censusicain Bureau since last April.
A recent report from the Institute for Women 's Policy Research , using the A Bureau of Labor Statistics demographic survey, which has smaller samples but produces faster snapshots of the data, found that the rates of disconnected youth have risen sharply from 2019 to 2020 among black, Latin and Native American women.
While rates during this period have jumped for young men too, it is worth considering note that before the pandemic, the disconnection rate of young women was declining faster than for men. In 2015, it was 16% for young women compared to 14.8 percent for men. By 2019, women had closed this gap somewhat - 13.5% of women were offline compared to 12.9% of men. Then, in 2020, the rate for both men and women jumped to 17%.
The number of disconnected young people overall has been steadily declining, to 4.3 million people in 2018, from 6 million in 2008, according to Measure of America, a project of the Social Science Research Council, a nonprofit organization that published its last report on the disconnection last summer.
Researchers at Measure of America predicted that the pandemic could reversemuch of that progress and even shoot up the number of disconnected young people to a record nine million people - a quarter of America's youth.
"We rely on carefully collected data that takes researchers 18 months or more to assemble, verify and format " the reported report. But "we are painfully aware that as of this writing, the Covid-19 pandemic is eating away at these gains. The pandemic will drastically change the disconnection rates of young people, possibly wiping out a decade's progress.
Although it 's still early for definitive data, experts suggest that the same with the care crisis that forced adult women to quit the labor market may have spread to younger women, many caring for siblings or relatives, for example, so that their parents can workr.
Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization that offers STEM classes and workshops for girls, interviewed hundreds of its own students and found that 25 percent of high school students and 20 percent of high school students said they were responsible for taking care of a family member, although the survey could not determine whether these responsibilities affected specifically their study plans.
Researchers at Measure of America, who have kept in touch with their grassroots partners across the country during the pandemic, have heard similar stories - young people women who were unable to complete a course or assignment due to family obligations, said Rebecca Gluskin, assistant director and chief statistician at Measure of America.
Young women are also much more likely toe young men to be single parents, the Institute for Women 's Policy Research study noted, placing them in a stressful position during the pandemic to choose between bringing a paycheck or s taking care of their children.
"We have focused in particular on the digital divide and its impact on learning loss for children," Said Reshma Saujani, CEO and founder of the nonprofit Code Girls Who. "But we are not talking about the impact of the caregiving crisis on children's learning loss and its disproportionate impact on girls and women. girls of color.
She added, "This is a strategy we use when we are stepping across the world ", pointing to the Let Girls Learn program under the Obama administration, which she said was based entirely on the recognition" that girls are dropping out. 'school because they have to do housework and take care of their families.
"Now the exact same thing is happening in the United States, " Ms. Saujani said.
All of this can have long-term ripple effects.
Even temporary unemployment or a decline in education at a young age can reduce a person's earning potential, job stability and even home ownership years later, according to a 2018 study by Measure of America which followed the young diceconnected over 15 years.
To this day, millennials who started their careers in 2008 but were deported by the recession have still not recovered from the blow, said Jill Filipovic, author of "OK Boomer, Let's Talk: How My Generation Was Left Behind.
For women, success early in their careers also translates into a larger gender pay gap for the rest of their lives, Ms. Filipovic added.
"We know that the gender pay gap widens as women reach their reproductive years, in their twenties and twenties. thirties, ”she said. "Young women in their early 20s therefore have such a short period of time to reach their highest earning potential.
" But if you are already beginner behind the gun of dOn the other hand, there is really nothing that I have seen to suggest that this all gets caught up in later in life. "